At the PACK EXPO conference, Emerson’s Enrico De Carolis described the challenges packaging lines face in maintaining safety to keep operational personnel out of harm’s way and be compliant with stringent machine safety regulations. Despite ongoing pressure to reduce total incident rate (TIR), data from a 2016 report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reveals manufacturing accounted for 26 percent of all reported hospitalizations and 57 percent of all reported amputations – the highest proportions for all industries.
When changes are made to improve a machine’s safety, overall operations can become more complex and more time consuming – prompting operators to bypass those measures and expose themselves to unnecessary risk.
It’s important to enable safer interactions between operators and machines through approaches, such as zoned safety, that reduce overall complexity of machines and maximize reliability of systems.
Zoned safety is where a single ASCO Numatics 503 Series Zoned Safety Manifold with G3 fieldbus electronics simplifies and streamlines the design of a redundant pneumatic safety circuit with a manifold system that can be configured to shut down air and power only to the group of valves that controls the machine’s motion in the operator’s vicinity while the rest of the machine remains in operation.
Multiple independent safety circuits can be designed into a single pneumatic valve manifold, reducing the number of safety system components by up to 35 percent, requiring less plumbing, and shrinking the size of a safety system so that valuable real estate within the machine and manifold can be used for other purposes while still providing enhanced operator safety.
You can visit the ASCO Numatics part of the Emerson website for more on technologies and products for increased packaging machine safety, flexibility and connectivity.